Stephen Joseph Theatre: 2008

This page contains a more detailed guide to significant events concerning the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, in 2008.


  • 8 February: Initial interviews are held for the position of Artistic Director of the SJT; Alan Ayckbourn and Scarborough Theatre Trust board agree he will not join the interview process.
  • March: The Restaurant is relaunched and renamed as 1936 with an art deco theme and a series of black and white photographs of Odeon cinemas; 1936 being the year the Odeon cinema in Scarborough opened.
  • 26 April: Second interviews are held for the position of Artistic Director of the SJT.
  • 28 April: Scarborough Theatre Trust confirms an offer for the position of Artistic Director has been made, but no official announcement is made nor the person named.
  • April: The SJT Friends is disbanded with some acrimony and a new Membership scheme announced to replace it.
  • 14 May: The Chair of Scarborough Theatre Trust, Sue Truefitt, confirms in a press release (see below) an Artist Director has been appointed:
"The interview panel have made an appointment and details are now being finalised. It is hoped that this process will be completed by the next meeting of the full Board at the end of this month when the post will be ratified and a date fixed for a formal announcement."
  • 22 May: Alan Ayckbourn's final summer season as Artistic Director of the SJT is launched as The Things That Go Bump Season, featuring three supernatural plays to be performed by a single rep company.
  • 28 May: The SJT company is informed Chris Monks has agreed to accept the position of Artistic Director.
  • 29 May: The Scarborough Theatre Trust board is informed of the appointment of Chris Monks as the Artistic Director at the monthly meeting of the full Board.
  • 30 May: An official statement regarding the appointment of Chris Monks as Artistic Director of the SJT is released to the press:
Sue Truefitt, Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, would now like to confirm the appointment of Chris Monks as Artistic Director of the theatre. This is to succeed Alan Ayckbourn in the new year, ready for the start of the 2009/2010 season. Chris Monks is currently a freelance theatre director and writer and an Associate Director at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester.
Chris Monks says of his new appointment: “I feel honoured and excited to follow Stephen Joseph and Alan Ayckbourn, to provide the artistic vision for this renowned theatre company. It’s a dream come true and I can’t wait to start. Moving back to Yorkshire, I’ll be returning to my roots: I was born and brought up in Sheffield, studied in Leeds, my family spent their holidays in Filey and Bridlington and my cousin lives in Whitby.”
  • 23 July: Two For Tea launched in The Restaurant as a series of afternoon conversations between SJT creatives hosted by novelist and broadcaster Kate Fenton.
  • 4 September: Janie Dee returns to the SJT to star in Alan Ayckbourn's revival of his play Woman In Mind, which had been planned for 2006 before the playwright suffered a stroke.
  • 16 October: Barrie Rutter joins the SJT company for the first time in the world premiere of Ben Benison's Jack Lear, a re-working of King Lear.
  • October: There are queues around the SJT block for Lenny Henry's theatrical debut in Northern Broadsides production of Othello in 2009.
  • 11 December: World premiere of Awaking Beauty, written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn, his final play to be staged at the SJT whilst Artistic Director.
  • 11 December: The Gallery's new exhibition Alan Ayckbourn - Seen and Unseen , curated by his archivist Simon Murgatroyd, mark Alan Ayckbourn's six decade association with theatre in the round in Scarborough.
  • Date TBC: The Education Department is relaunched as SJT OutReach - an ambitious extension of the theatre's former education department.
Article by and copyright of Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce this article without permission of the copyright holder.